WARNING: SOME DETAILS MAY BE DISTURBING
The 17-month delay between a search warrant that secured longtime CNN producer John Griffin’s devices in Vermont and an arrest on child trafficking charges shows that feds "don’t give a da-- about these kind of cases," according to a former FBI agent turned whistleblower who has taken the bureau to task for years.
"He obviously is a sexual predator, and has gone from grooming children into actually ‘capturing’ them," said Jane Turner, a former FBI special agent who blew the whistle on the FBI’s mishandling of child sex crime cases in North Dakota’s Native American reservations. "Very, very dangerous offender."
The evidence against Griffin allegedly includes drone video he took showing a "completely naked 9-year-old girl" standing next to him in his underwear, according to court filings.
"When confronted with this video during an interview by FBI agents, Griffin’s first response was merely to suggest he was not looking at the naked girl, despite that she was standing so close to him to be touching," the prosecutor’s pretrial detention memo reads.
Turner has long been critical of the FBI’s handling of child trafficking cases. In one instance that came up in her whistleblowing case, she forced investigators to reopen the case against a suspected child rapist after the 2-year-old victim’s injuries sustained in a sexual assault were mislabeled as stemming from a "motor vehicle accident," according to her attorneys. The suspect went on to plead guilty.
The allegations against Griffin were serious enough in her view that they should have immediately been investigated by a crack team of agents.
"He has a horrific hatred of women," Turner told Fox News Digital. "I would like to know his background. He is an incredibly dangerous offender."
Griffin, a high-profile and longtime producer at CNN, exhibits some telltale signs found in child sex predators, according to John Kelly, a veteran criminal profiler and psychoanalyst.
"These are all allegations," he told Fox News Digital Monday. "But he looks like he’s got his head in the noose."
The suspected child abuser, through the nature of his job as a TV producer, is used to being in control, Kelly said. And he has an eye for imagery.
"The forbidden can be so tempting for the man who has everything," he said.
Griffin also has a lot of money and, at 44 years old, Kelley said his sexual fetishes likely formed years ago and may be an addiction.
"They don’t get started at that age…they get started much, much younger," he said, adding that he wouldn’t be surprised if additional victims were to come forward with stories predating the Vermont horror.
All the more reason to dig into the investigation earlier, Turner said.
"As Roy Hazelwood taught profilers at Quantico, where you find one, there are many more: Kick open the door," she said, referring to the late FBI profiler who also served as a consultant for "Silence of the Lambs."
"They should have kicked this up to the ‘A Team,’ put a lot of time and resources on it, but as we all know, anything to do with sex and kids holds a yuck factor for a lot of agents and their supervisors," Turner added.
The "yuck factor" is evident in the graphic federal criminal complaint against Griffin, who the FBI arrested last month. That’s roughly a year and a half after court records show investigators seized a number of his devices and drives in connection with a Nevada case against the child victim’s adoptive mother.
He allegedly paid the woman more than $3,000 to fly to his multimillion-dollar Vermont vacation home for a week of sex crimes that involved her 9-year-old adopted daughter.
"I can’t think of any legitimate reason for the delay in arresting Griffin, especially when the adoptive mother was arrested in August 2020," said Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor who has been monitoring the case. "Even if he were cooperating, it would usually be post-arrest and indictment."
Fox News is not using the woman’s name to avoid exposing the child victim’s identity.
"The bottom line is they (the FBI) really don’t give a da-- about these kind of cases," Turner said, along with sharing a laundry list of possible excuses for the delay that included building up the case against possible other suspects, uncooperative witnesses and crime lab backlogs.
The FBI didn’t make excuses at all, instead cited the Justice Department’s policy regarding commenting on ongoing investigations. A spokesperson for the Vermont U.S. Attorney’s Office also declined to comment.
The Nevada case blew open when the victim’s biological mother uncovered disturbing conversations on her daughter’s cellphone – learning that the adoptive mom "had gone out to Vermont to visit a [man] named John Griffin who she met on an online porn/sex page."
The adoptive mother also wound up hospitalized during the visit, leaving the little girl alone and unsupervised with Griffin during that time.
The 9-year-old later told a social worker that, on separate occasions, she had been forced to watch her adoptive mother engage in sex acts with Griffin – as well as other men on separate occasions.
The criminal complaint filed against the Nevada woman on Aug. 25, 2020, in Henderson Justice Court details the allegations.
The woman allegedly flew the 9-year-old from Nevada to Boston, Massachusetts, where prosecutors said Griffin picked them up in a Tesla and drove them to his $2 million vacation house in a Vermont ski town, according to the federal indictment.
After the woman's arrest in August 2020, federal investigators seized "computers storage media, devices, phones, cameras, MicroSD cards, images, and video" from Griffin on Sept. 2, 2020, according to court documents.
CNN fired the former Chris Cuomo producer after his arrest.
"Prior to his arrest and indictment, we had no knowledge about the case," a CNN spokesperson told Fox News Digital. The media outlet also said no CNN-owned devices issued to Griffin went missing or were reported lost in September 2020, when investigators said they seized some of his electronics.
Between April and July 2020, Griffin allegedly invited three women and their underage daughters over "for the purposes of sexual training," according to the federal indictment. Only the Nevada woman took him up on his offer, according to prosecutors.
Griffin faces a count of child sex trafficking and two counts of attempted child sex trafficking. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison. He is being held without bail in Vermont. He has pleaded not guilty.
Griffin’s attorney David Kirby declined to comment.
Fox News’ Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.